Muslim woman alleges discrimination at gas station
PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (WSVN) -- A Muslim woman simply trying to buy gas said she was confronted by a gas station employee fueled by hate.
La-Fleur Mohamed said she was refused service at a Boca Raton gas station because of what she was wearing. "I've never felt humiliated like that before to get service from someone," said Mohamed.
She said she is no stranger to stares and understands her religious Islamic attire, which included her face veil draws curiosity. "They will come up to me, and we will have conversations, and we'll go into religion and where I'm from, and we'll have a sharing, teaching moment, and I love those moments very much."
But, Mohamed said, what happened to her three months ago was not innocent curiosity but outright discrimination, which violated her civil rights. It was at a Boca Raton Chevron on, October 28, where, Mohamed said, the female attendant refused to serve her telling her, "We don't serve people like you."
"I said, 'Hi, can I please have money on pump number 1," Mohamed recalled. "She took my money and said, 'You can't come in here dressed like that. I said, 'Excuse me, but this is my religious right.' She said, 'Well, I need to see you.' I said, 'No, you don't. Please just give me $20 on pump number 1,' and that's when she threw my money back at me."
Mohamed walked out and called 911. A deputy then showed up to the gas station. "He went in and asked her why she was not serving me," Mohamed said, "and she said that it's company policy not to serve people like me."
Wilfredo Ruiz, Mohamed's attorney said, "This lady was escorted by the deputy to get service, so there is absolutely no reason to not serve her based on security reasons."
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said this is a clear case of discrimination and has filed a formal complaint with the State Commission of Human Rights. "It violates state and federal law," said CAIR's executive director, Nezar Hamze, "and CAIR is going to pursue this to the fullest extent of the law."
Brent Tippen, a Chevron Corporate Media Adviser released a statement saying in part: "We fully believe that our employee acted without the intent to violate Ms. Mohamed's religious principles and any suggestion that discrimination is acceptable at Chevron is completely false ... We regret the misunderstanding. We have apologized twice to Ms. Mohamed and encouraged our employees to be more aware of potential diversity issues."
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